Until the establishment of the Roman Empire in the first century, Roman and Greek dress is largely the same. During the Empire Roman dress is distinctive. Most important, the toga is the sign of a citizen. The toga imposes dignity by its size, weight, and styling. It is made from a long, semicircular piece of lightweight wool, which is approximately six to eight feet wide by three times the height of a man. Sometimes the curved edge is trimmed with a border adapted from the Etruscan tebenna. A wrapped garment, the toga is held in place by the body through a careful arrangement of folds. First the fabric is folded lengthwise, with one end hanging to the ground in front. Then it is passed across the back and twisted under the right arm, creating the sinus, an apronlike form which serves as a pocket. The remaining length is thrown back over the left shoulder and kept in position by the left arm. The style and use of the toga are defined and restricted. These are the most important examples: 1) The toga virilius is plain white. It is for citizens over the age of sixteen. 2) The toga praetexta has a purple border. It is for senators, officials, priests, and boys under sixteen. 3) The toga picta (palmate) is purple and trimmed in gold. A magnificent toga, it is for consuls when they lead a circus celebration. 4) The toga palla is made of unbleached wool. For mourners, its back drape is pulled over the head to form a hood referred to as the umbo. The most common garment is a t-shaped tunic with short sleeves ending just above the elbow. Cut in a variety of widths and lengths, it is girdled up to the knees or above. The tunic is alone or with a toga (for the higher class). The tunica tolaris is an unbelted tunic with attached long sleeves. It is ankle length. One or two purple strips, clavi, decorate the center front.
Costume -- Rome -- History -- (LC) Sculpture -- Roman -- 4th century -- (YVRC)
costume (mode of fashion): clothing (AAT) sculpture: statues (AAT)
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Related Exhibit or Resource:
Etruscan and Roman: 6th century BCE-3rd century CE: Roman Dress: Men
Button, Jeanne and Sbarge, Stephen
History of Costume, In Slides, Notes and Commentaries: Volume 1
New York, NY Theatre Arts Slide Presentations 1975
GT513 +B87 1 (LC)
Visual Resources Collection
Visual Resources Collection
Ostia, Italy: Museo Archeologico Ostiense
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